A Civil War Biography
Edward P. Doherty
Little about Doherty's early life is available other than he was
born in Canada in 1840. He was living in New York when war erupted.
He joined a 90 day militia unit and was assigned as a private to
Company A of the 71st New York on 20 April 1861. The 71st saw action
at First Bull Run assigned to Colonel Ambrose Burnside's 2nd Brigade
of Colonel David Hunter's 2nd Division. The 71st, along with
Doherty, mustered out on 9 August 1861.
Two years later Doherty joined the 16th New York Cavalry and was
assigned as a 1st lieutenant. The 16th was assigned to the
Washington defenses for the duration.
On 24 April 1865, 10 days after Abraham Lincoln was shot in Ford's
Theater, Doherty was ordered to report to the office of Lafayette C.
Baker, chief of the National Detective Police (NDP) which would
eventually become the US Secret Service. He was ordered to form a
detachment to hunt down John Wilkes Booth, the identified slayer of
Lincoln, and any co-conspirators. The detachment embarked upon the
steamer John S. Ide and proceeded down the Potomac River landing at
Belle Plain, Virginia. Two days later the 25 man detachment of the
16th NY accompanied by Luther Baker, the cousin of Lafayette Baker,
and Everton J. Conger, both agents in the NDP, caught up with Booth
and David E. Herold in a tobacco barn near Port Royal, Virginia
owned by Richard H. Garrett. According to Doherty's report Herold
surrendered and Booth was killed.
Doherty, for his effort, was promoted to captain and given a $5,250
reward. He remained in the cavalry. The 16th NY was merged with the
13th NY forming the 3rd New York Provisional Cavalry on 23 June
1865. The 3rd NY was mustered out on 21 September 1865. Seven months
later Doherty joined the regular cavalry and was assigned to the 5th
US Cavalry as a 2nd lieutenant on 19 April 1866. He was promoted to
1st lieutenant on 1 March 1867 and remained in the regular army
until mustering out in late 1870. He died in 1897 and is buried in
Arlington National Cemetery.
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